There’s nothing quite as refreshing as jumping into a pool on a hot summer day. Having your own swimming pool gives you a natural gathering place for friends and family, a perfect spot to relax and unwind and a nice return on investment if and when you decide to sell your home.
Being a pool owner also means learning all about what makes for an ideal swim. If you are a new pool owner, or simply hadn’t given the matter much thought, you might not know what the most comfortable pool temperature is for your guests. In this post, we will explore what the experts consider the ideal temperatures for your pool, along with what the minimum swimming pool temperature is, what unheated pool temperatures hover around, what the ideal swimming pool temperature is for seniors and what the ideal outdoor pool temperature year round is. Ready to dive in (pun intended)?
Is There A Minimum Swimming Pool Temperature?
Some of the factors to consider when determining comfortable pool temperatures is who exactly is using the pool. How old are your swimmers? Are your bathers physically fit? Are your guests swimming laps or just dipping their toes in the shallow end? One way to start thinking about the perfect pool temperature is to start with the bare minimum: what’s the coldest temperature that your pool water needs to be to be comfortable for taking a dip?
In some areas, you can swim virtually year-round, although in most places there are a few months when you won’t be swimming. In those places, the decision about when to open your pool for the season depends on some of the questions we posed above, plus a few other factors, including the materials used to construct the pool, the amount of wind and other weather factors in your area and the pool’s orientation to the sun.
According to the American Red Cross and the National Pool and Spa Institute, the recommended minimum swimming pool temperature for most aquatic activities should be between 83 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This range allows the body to adjust naturally to physical demands, even the minimal demands required while playfully swimming. While this range is suitable for most activities, like we stated above, your pool’s swimming temperature should also be altered based on the number of individuals swimming and the activity they’re engaged in.
For highly competitive swimming, the American Red Cross recommends that pool water should be between 77 and 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Not surprisingly, though, the younger the swimmer, the warmer the water should be. Take first-time swimmers, for example. Preschool-aged children should be learning to swim in water that’s between 88 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas children between the ages of 3 and 5 should be swimming in water that’s between 86 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A good rule to follow is that as the swimmer gets older, the pool’s temperature becomes cooler.
Safety Implications Of Certain Unheated Pool Temperatures
Unheated pool temperatures are often dependant on many of the factors that we’ve already mentioned, such as the construction materials used to build your pool and the pool’s orientation to the sun. On any given day, your pool’s temperature can vary, rising and falling, depending on the time of day. If you don’t have a pool heater installed, it’s safe to assume that the temperature will drop at night after the water loses some of the heat it absorbed during the day. As you probably also expect, the mercury will rise again the following morning as the pool water reabsorbs that heat. Typically, water temperatures decline about 5 percent during overnight hours, on average. If you cover your pool, though, it’s possible to reduce that heat loss by 50 percent or more.
Unheated pools run the risk of becoming too cold during cooler months of the year. While activities like the Polar Bear Plunge have become quite the annual ritual, cold water can actually be extremely dangerous when you experience it on a more frequent basis. The National Center for Cold Water Safety states that swimmers entering water with a temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit should proceed with caution.
Because we often compare water temperatures to its air temperature equivalent, 70 degrees doesn’t seem particularly cold, where in actuality, this water temperature has the potential to be incredibly dangerous. For starters, it’s already below the temperature threshold whereby breathing begins to be affected or difficult; most people begin to experience some difficulty while breathing when the water temperature is 77 degrees. And as the water’s temperature continues to fall, your breathing—or your ability to hold your breath—becomes increasingly more difficult.
Although you may choose to not use your pool’s heater, most pools do have a heating system. While a heater is sometimes needed to maintain the recommended temperature for a pool, water that is too warm can also have negative effects on swimmers. For starters, exposure to hot water can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps and overheating. That’s why experts urge individuals in hot tubs to stay in the water for only 10 to 15 minutes, or even less; the maximum safe water temperature for spas and hot tubs is 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The Red Cross also advises that women who are pregnant and children under five should not sit in a hot tub or spa.
If you do decide to install a pool heater, there are a few options to consider, like deciding between a heat pump or a gas pool heater. Let’s discuss these two options in a little more detail.
Through electricity, heat pumps capture heat and move it from place to place inside your pool. Contrary to what this device’s name might indicate, this pump doesn’t actually generate heat. Instead, as the pool pump moves around the water, the water moves through the filter and the pump’s heater. One thing to consider is that the heat pumps work most efficiently when the outside temperature remains above 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the pump pulls in air from outside, the cooler the air outside, the more energy must be used to convert chilly air to hot air. Finally, while heat pumps cost more than gas pool heaters, they are typically more cost-effective, as they are more efficient over time.
Gas pool heaters are the more popular option for heating pools, but they aren’t necessarily the most energy-efficient. This type of heater uses natural gas or propane, and as the pump moves through the pool’s water, the water passes through a filter and then the heater. Because this heater is most often used for heating pools quickly and for shorter periods of time, this option is ideal for families that don’t use their pool on a regular basis.
The Perfect Swimming Pool Temperature For Seniors
The rule we mentioned earlier (the older a child swimmer is, the cooler the pool should get) flips if the swimmer is an elder. For older adults engaging in moderate to high-intensity activity, the pool water should range between 83 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. For the same aged adults engaging in low-intensity activity, the water should be slightly warmer, ranging between 86 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, for adults engaging in therapy and rehabilitation, the temperature should be much warmer, between 91 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, as warmer temperatures allow for muscles to become looser and for the body’s stiffness be reduced.
With the correct awareness, training and support, aquatics can be one of the more beneficial forms of exercise for adults or sernios, especially those suffering from physical conditions such as arthritis. The goal for aquatic programming for older individuals with arthritis is to decrease the pain and increase the individual’s range of motion. For this type of activity, the pool water should be slightly warmer than what the individual is used to, randing from 84 or 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Ideal Outdoor Pool Temperature: What If It’s Not Quite Right?
There you have it: the best outdoor pool temperature ranges from between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of activity and the age of the swimmer. If you are planning to teach swimming lessons outdoors to small children, the most conducive temperature for teaching is slightly warmer, ranging from 83 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Given these temperature ranges, most families kick-off pool season in April. Especially in southern states, including in Texas, it’s not surprising to see families in their pools on weekends or after school during this time of year. But because other states don’t experience such warm weather as early as Texas residents do, the most typical month to start swimming season across the country is May.
What if you are doing all that you should to keep your pool temperature consistent, but things don’t seem quite right? You might have a few problems with your pool heater. If your heater either doesn’t turn on or won’t stay on, try cleaning your filter and turning your thermostat up. If your filter is clogged, the low pressure might result in the heater shutting itself off. If you have a gas heater, make sure the shut-off valve is on so that the heater is getting the fuel it needs to operate. If you have an electric unit, check to make sure there is no corrosion around the terminals and that your connections are tight.
If your heater will turn on but doesn’t seem to be adequately heating your pool, you might have either a dirty filter or a timer that’s not set correctly. Again, a clogged filter can prevent the heater from coming on or can shut it off before it’s done its job. Just as we instructed above, remove all debris from your filter and then turn the heater on to a high enough temperature that the heater comes back on. If your timer is the problem, try resetting it so it runs for a longer period of time. While you are at it, ensure that your system valves are turned in such a way that they go through your heater. Last, but certainly not least, if you have a new heater that isn’t working properly, double check to make sure that you purchased the right-sized heater for your pool.
ABC Can Help Keep Your Pool Looking And Working Great
Having a pool in your backyard can be a great feature, but all pool owners know a lot of work is involved. If you have a pool, you should be keeping up with maintenance, safety precautions, especially with small children and of course, ensuring the water’s temperature is comfortable for everyone. It’s one thing when everything is working fine, but something else entirely when things aren’t quite right and you are not sure what to do about it. Luckily, ABC Home & Commercial Services has a team of experts that are equipped and ready to assist you with any of your pool service needs. Whether you need a pool repair, are considering replastering a pool or if you are ready to outsource your cleaning to the pros, we’ve got you covered. Let ABC take care of the work so you can enjoy the warm, summer days with your family, relaxing poolside.